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Serenity Grace

Serenity Grace, baby with anencephaly

 

Where do you begin to start sharing the most broken beautiful story of your life?

This is where I'll let Jesus take the wheel on this one. He'll tell it best. August 1st, 2017 at 10 p.m., I muster up the courage to take a pregnancy test. I was late and I knew I needed to take the test. Though in my heart I already knew the answer.

I've always had a very strong sense of self awareness for myself. An intuition of things, even for being a women, I can say is gift. But here I am already a single mom just trying to hold my life together. Please intuition be wrong.

I sit, I take, I wait. Positive.

Breathe Amy.

Breathe.

Cry and just breathe.

I had no idea that here would begin the Journey to one of the biggest blessings of my life: Miss Serenity.

Going forward after this day for awhile I was in a daze. I wasn't sure how I was going to do this. Could I do this? Would I do this? I struggled a lot with the decision to carry Serenity or not. I knew as a Christian this is not what God would want, yet at this point in my life I had become very good with being able to ignore God.

So there I was, ignoring Him, trying to make the best decision that I thought was best for me not for Him or anyone else. I was selfish. I made the appointment for Friday, August 11th, to take a pill that would terminate the pregnancy. It makes me want to cry and feel so ashamed as I even think about that now. How much sadness that thought holds for me.

It was the morning of the 11th. I get an early text, 5:30 a.m. It was my first of what I called "God moments" of many that would happen throughout my journey. The words I read on my screen was a message from a women I was close to. She had no idea what I was going through and what decision I was about to make, yet she sent me scripture with a message letting me know that I needed to trust God. Though I didn't have understanding, I knew I needed to trust Him.

We can try to ignore God all day. But trust me when he wants you to hear Him, You will hear Him. God spoke loud and clear to me that day. I called first thing when then clinic opened and cancelled the appointment. Scared, hopeless and alone I waited for God to be true to His promises.

The thing I've learned about God is that when He wants to get you some place, trust me, you are going to get there. You can try to take the wheel from Him all day. He'll let you drive some sure, but He's still going to get you there. Although, by us taking the wheel from Him we don't realize we are only taking the long hard way. The unpaved road with dangers signs everywhere. The roads that are almost a sure guarantee we will break down on. I often took that wheel from God but that day, I decided to keep my baby. I let him take over. Here God. Here you go. My life and this baby is yours. I trust you. I knew there was some place he was calling me to go. Some place he needed me to be.

Two weeks before I found out I was pregnant I had a dream. I was paralysed in my dream and I couldn't move. I was crying and distraught. Then a baby was placed in my lap before me. It was a girl. She was beautiful. She instantly calmed me and I stopped crying. I awoke. How odd. I wondered what the dream meant ? I'm a big dreamer. I get fascinated with the dreams. I have and do believe they hold meanings. Scriptures even speak of God giving His people visions through their dreams.

It wasn't until deciding to keep my baby that I knew that dream was a vision from God. I also think about how I was paralysed in my dream. The metaphor could not be more accurate. At the time I became pregnant, I was "paralysed". I had let the ways of the world stop me in my tracks when it came to my walk with God. I had a lot of darkness around me and it had control of me in a dangerous way.

I often thought of that dream daily after I found out I was pregnant. From day one of giving my baby and life back over to God he started to heal me. I was changing back to the child of God that was always in my souI. The darkness started to no longer have a hold of me. I felt this undefinable peace that I cannot explain.

Due to my vision I believed with all my heart she would be a girl before the doctors could even reveal that to me. I woke up one morning and instantly, the word Serenity was in my mind. Serenity, I would name her Serenity. It means calm, peace, untroubled. That is exactly how she made me feel. It was exactly what God have given me. He had given me serenity. Little did I know how much more that name and its meaning would ever mean to me.

Fast forward, it was the sixteenth week check up. Yup, its a girl! No surprise there God. It's like I could almost see God winking at me in the doctors room. I was great, she was great. Routine blood work and I was out the door. I remember thinking how happy I was. How happy I had been since deciding to keep her. I hadn't felt that feeling in a long time. I had become so close to God.

Through doing that I had found healing and forgiveness in others and myself from things that held me captive for along time. I was able to be set free. God was good, so good! If only I knew just how much I still needed to believe that, with what would come next.

It was 8:00 p.m. when my phone goes off two days later after my appointment with my doctor. It was the doctors. Why were they calling so late? I knew that was never good. He informed me my lab work came back abnormal. "Your baby is at high risk for a neuro tube defect, don't worry though we see false positives all the time. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. I'll set you up for a referral though with genetics to confirm." The rest of that conversation with my doctor was a blurr. I cried myself to sleep that night. Please God please let her be ok.

It took a week before I was able to see the specialist. I sat down with the kind man. He was a genetic counselor. He was there to prepare me for the worst. "I have to let you know before you go in for your ultrasound these results are very high. I am expecting to find something wrong."

Silence. My heart felt so heavy. There is no preparing walking into a room after hearing those words, laying on a bed and knowing once the doctor places the probe on your belly they are going to find something wrong with your baby. How does a mother prepare for that? I often wonder how I had the courage to even take the the steps into that room.

"Anencephaly", the doctor tells me. "Your daughter has a condition called Anencephaly. It is a neuro tube defect. She is missing most of her brain. She is incompatible with life."

Breath Amy.

Just breathe.

Cry and just breathe.

I laid there looking at her little image on the screen. She was moving so much. Her tiny little body showing so much life. What did he mean incompatible with life? Look at her though. Look at her heart beating, her movements. I feel her though too. I didn't understand. I was too numb to be even be angry with God. I was too numb to feel anything.

I left that office that day and went for a walk alone in the woods by a river and sat there and just cried. I played over and over again in my headphones the song "Spirit Lead Me" by Hillsong.

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters. Wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger. In the presence of my Savior."

Though I couldn't see Him I knew God had sat down right next to me on that rock along the river. All I could think was she saved me. My Serenity saved me. I didn't have understanding but I knew her life already had purpose and had value. God was in control. Trust him.

The amount of heaviness my heart felt that day is hard to even go back to and think about. Was it even humanly possible to cry so many tears? But it was that night, I decided against the specialist advice and I would not terminate her life. God put her in my womb to love her and protect her and that's exactly what I would do. She was after all "fearfully and wonderfully made".

Every day after that God made Himself known to me daily. He made sure I knew every single moment of every single day I was not alone. He was with me and He will carry me through and He did. There were so many moments though I just uncontrollably cried. I was trying to have understanding.

Even Jesus on the cross himself asked, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" But God never did leave Him and God never did leave me. I would mourn many nights but God was there. I felt that His heart was breaking too. In the Bible Jesus wept when Mary and Martha were crying over Lazarus death. Jesus knew he would raise Lazarus. But he wept, He wept because He loved Martha and Mary and their broken hearts hurt His. Just as Jesus wept with them I believe God was weeping with me. Even knowing what he would do with Serenity's life he still wept because I myself was hurting and because I have a heavenly Father that loves me very much.

Each day I kept growing closer to God because He was closer to me. I decided I would take the hope, faith, and light that God was still given me amidst the storm and start sharing it. I started a journal to Serenity where I myself would pour my heart to her and feel close with her.

I reached out to support groups and organizations where I learned more about her condition and where I let them encourage me and love me and I would give the same back. I posted daily on social media about my journey, about her journey. I just knew strongly in my heart that Serenity had an even bigger purpose then just saving me.

Many people lose hope in the darkness. Many mothers put in my situation, given the same diagnosis, decide to terminate because they don't see any other option or any other light. I knew it was my job as Serenity's mommy and a child of God to help them see that light.

God has a purpose for our pain and nothing is a surprise to him. He was in control of my situation and He would be in control of theirs too. It is and was my calling to help others see this. Through reaching out to others and sharing my story God made Himself even more known to me daily. I would have many "God moments". I would get constant messages of love and encouragement. I would get care packages, I would get cards. I would get testimonies of how my faith helped grow others faith. I would feel love. God truly was with me and I still had that undefinable peace.

Months passed and it was time to start planning Serenity's arrival. I had all these things in my mind set in stone. I had so many plans. I had her arrival scheduled. I would have a c-section as I believed this would give her the best chance to live longer. I had it all planned out with the an organ donation organization so she could donate. I had my plans. But that's the thing, they were MY plans and the funny thing with life is that guess what? Sometimes things don't go as planned. Sometimes things are not meant to go as planned.

Due to complications I started having early labor signs at 32 weeks. I went into that hospital angry and bitter at God. What are you doing God? Why now? I'm not ready? She's not big enough! She wont live and she wont be able to donate her organs. Why God, why now? I was pleading with him. I was not at peace then and I did not have understanding.

Where was God? Where was my faithful Father. He said to trust him... where was He? And right away way God answered. Though I was having contractions every few minutes I was not dilating. I was not in labor after all. I was released and so relieved. But it also made me realize I needed to let go of MY plans and give it to God. I needed to come to peace with God's timing not mine. And I did. I released it all to God and just thought, "Thy will be done".

It was around one week later. I laid alone in the hospital bed, it was time. I just kept playing the playlist I had made for Serenity in my headphones. I was meditating and praying but most importantly I was accepting it was time. The day was so peaceful. I wasn't scared, God was there. The sun shone and laid rays on me as I was getting my belly cast done last minute because I never had time to do it. And I just knew everything was going to be ok.

Then hours passed and it started to feel and get dark outside and around me. I had asked the doctors to stop monitoring her heart beat hours before because If she passed I didn't know if I could emotionally handle it and still deliver. I was in pain, my labor no longer was going smoothly and in my heart I just knew she was gone.

God? Where are you?

The doctors calmed me and gave me medication to help me sleep. Something I so greatly needed. Something God knew I needed, rest.

I awoke and within an hour I was pushing... she was coming.

February 22nd, 12:55 p.m., Serenity Grace was born.

There was nothing but silence. It was silent as the snow that started to fall softly outside. I remember feeling as if I couldn't reach her and hold her fast enough. I just so badly yearned to hold my baby. They placed her on my chest. She was so beautiful. What deformation? I couldn't see anything but perfection and she was so peaceful. Oh my Serenity.

The nurse listened to her heart. That too was silent. I already knew though, they didn't have to tell me. I asked to be alone with her and everyone left. I held her little face so close to mine and my tears feel delicately onto her. I just kept telling her, thank you. Thank you Hunny for saving me. And in a moment where many would be angry at God I felt like I needed to get down on my knees and thank Him. I felt so honored God would choose me to carry her, to be her mommy. They say God speaks in whispers and in that silence I heard Him. He was there and He loved both of us so much.

I miss my Serenity so much. My grief can some days scream at me and the pain to much to to bare. Though I have faith it does not immune me from these emotions. I often wonder if Serenity can see me. Does she she see how much I love her? Does God tell her about me? I hold God to his promise that I will see her again. I know I will. And I find healing in continuing to share her story and my faith.

I still reach out to the support groups as I always will. I will forever be thankful for the organizations out there that help mothers like me. I believe they are God's earth angels.

One thing I wondered after her death was why God took her so early though and not let her be big enough to use her organs to help save another baby. But then one day I got a beautiful message from a stranger she found me on social media by accident and started reading my post about Serenity's story.

After the story brought her to tears, she said she shared it with a friend who was contemplating abortion. She told me they both cried and talked for hours and the mom decided not to terminate but to go forward with her pregnancy. As I read that message that night I cried because I had understanding. God did save a baby! And God, through Serenity, will save many more lives, many forms, in many ways.

God's faithful with answering our hearts desires. He's faithful with his promises and one thing of the many things I've learned through this journey, is that miracles do happen and they truly come in many forms.

To me my miracle was Serenity's smile, that gorgeous smile. God sure did give her not only that beautiful smile, but He gave her a light and through me as her mommy I promise I will never let that light dim.

Many people ask me, "why would God do this to your baby?". I answer them with, God didn't cause Serenity to have Anencephaly but what He did cause was her light. And what He did do was take something so broken and make it so beautiful.

I hope you too can trust God even in the darkest of valleys in your life. He will give you a light too. He will give you serenity.

 

 

 

Last update: March 14, 2018